News of the Week, December 11 to December 17

Oregon City Enterprise, December 15, 1866

ALMOST A FIRE – On Saturday last about 12 o’clock, meridian, a rear portion of Col. Moss’ building, on the corner of Fourth and Main Streets was discovered to be on fire – having caught from a flue. No serious injury was done, but the circumstances forcibly reminded everybody that Oregon City is just now greatly at the mercy of the elements – without fire engine or hydrants. Where nature has done so much for a place, man is sadly deficient in not availing of the chances and opportunities. But who shall we blame for our not being supplied with good water works? Unless it be monied men who will not see the glorious opportunity for investment.

LET US HAVE ONE – Since the volunteer fire department of San Francisco has been disbanded and a paid one substituted in its stead we learn that hand and steam engines, with jumpers and carriages, can be purchased at extravagantly low prices. Now is the time when Oregon city should put in an offer for a fire engine.

By the 1890’s Oregon City had two hose companies and one hook and ladder company in the downtown area. A third hose company was established on the bluff in 1892. A fourth company, Mount Pleasant No. 4, later joined the Department. This photo from the 1890s shows one of the hose companies with their cart.

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Oregon City Enterprise, December 14, 1906
At an adjourned meting Wednesday night, the City Council turned down the proposition for a city library or the alternative of a referendum on the question, by postponing further consideration indefinitely.

The council committee that had met with the library association committee Tuesday evening, reported the proposition presented to the other committee – that of presenting before the council the subject of levying a 1/2-mill tax for the first year of the existence of the library, the same to be organized under a private corporation or association which would take charge. After the first year the subject might be brought at a regular election before the people and their sanction thus be given.

The association committee was reported as not willing to agree to this as they wished the mayor to appoint a city board to have charge of the same under the name of the city.

Many persons were heard on both sides. Some showed plainly that they did not see the need of such an institution in Oregon City.

Judge Ryan spoke in a forceful manner of the good which would be rendered through such an institution but stuck fast to the fact that it should be a city organization.

J. U. Campbell replied, and argument and wit flowed freely between the two and was the cause of some amusement. Mr. Campbell spoke against the forming and establishing a library of any sort in this city. Deputy District Attorney Schuebel put up some good arguments in favor of a library and pointed out the need of such an organization – a place where the children, young men and ladies and the older ones would find a suitable place to spend some of their spare moments and evenings and where they would come in contact with the best books and literature of the day.

Mr. Schuebel proposed that a referendum be taken, the library association to pay half the total expense, about $60, and the council the other half.

After all the arguments had been presented, by mutual consent the library problem, which has caused so much anxiety to many, was postponed indefinitely by the council.

Also from the City Council – The council had recently named a committee of three members to take charge of circulating a subscription paper which would give a chance to the people of Oregon City and vicinity to show appreciation of the faithful services of the late George J. Hanlon, night police officer, who was murdered by outlaw Smith, while Hanlon was in the performance of his official duty. The subscription taken up by the committee has reached the amount off $270 and Councilman Knapp was appointed at this meeting to present the donation to the widow of the late officer as a Christmas gift from her friends.

Oregon City Enterprise, December 15, 1916

Plans were laid and offers made at a meeting of the Live Wires of the Commercial Club Tuesday noon whereby Oregon City can become the owner of a $5,250 automobile fire truck and install the much favored part-paid fire department.

The meeting was attended by W. P. Hawley, Sr., and W. P. Hawley, Jr., of the Hawley Pulp & Paper Company, and Adolph Jacobs, of the Oregon City woolen mills, who offer to donate a total of $1,500 toward the purchase of the truck, the paper company giving $1,000 and the woolen mills $500. In addition the Hawley mills offered to buy from the city the site of the Cataract fire house on Main Street, near Third, for $1,500. Mr. Hawley, Jr., made the proposition to the Wires.

The city, therefore, would receive $3,000 from the two big companies. The taxpayers last Saturday recommended an increase in the general road levy of one mill. The city receives 70 per cent of the road levy collected within the city limits, and this rise in the levy would mean $2,000 not included in the budget figures. The additional road money could be spent on city streets, in accord with state law and a similar sum from the general city tax levy, now appropriated for street work, could go for the fire truck. In all, this would make about $5,000.

The city already has appropriated almost $2,000 for the maintenance of the fire and water department. With this money added, the city would have at its disposal about $7,000 for the purchase of the truck, the salary of the fire chief, his assistant and pay for volunteer help at fires and the reconstruction of the Fountain hose house. With the truck once paid for, the cost of maintaining the part-paid department, it is said, would not greatly exceed the expenses attached to the present volunteer department. A special city election, however, would be necessary to carry out the plan.

Seventeen hundred employees of three big Oregon City corporations – the Hawley Pulp & Paper Company, the Crown Willamette Paper Company and the Oregon City Woolen Mills will probably share the present prosperity in the paper and woolen trades at Christmas time with their employers.

The Hawley Company will spend $1,500 for Christmas presents for its men. Willard P. Hawley, Jr., is acting as Santa Claus’ special representative for the mill, and has bought 150 boxes of high grade cigars for the single men. The married men will receive a turkey, weight between 10 and 12 pounds, as a Christmas present from their employers and Mr. Hawley has insisted that only the best in Portland markets be sent here for the gifts.

The figures, 150 and 350, show the proportion of single to married men in the employ of the Hawley company. Only three or four single men will receive turkeys because they have their mothers dependent on them. The gifts reflect Mr. Hawley’s policy to favor married men, not only in the matter of Christmas presents, but in employing men as well.

Both the Crown Willamette and the Hawley mills will pay their men the Saturday before Christmas, as Christmas Day, December 25, comes on the date of the usual payday.

The Crown Willamette Company, with 900 men on its payrolls here, is the largest employer of labor in the county. Local officials have not received information concerning the usual gift of one day’s pay given each man, but it is generally understood that this practice will prevail. The average pay at the big plant is $3.10 per day, and the total amount distributed among the 900 men will be, therefore, $2,790.

Adolph Jacobs, president of the Oregon City Manufacturing Company, said Wednesday night that his company was completing arrangements to follow out its usual custom of giving each of its 300 employees a Christmas present.


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